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Rural Health Information Hub

Project Rural Recovery

  • Program Representative Interviewed: Darren Layman, Program Director, and Jessica Youngblom, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Location: Tennessee
  • Program Overview: Project Rural Recovery has four mobile units that bring integrated primary care, mental health, and substance use services to 20 rural counties in Tennessee. The mobile units offer walk-in services and scheduled appointments free of charge. The mobile units are funded by grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

    The mobile units are staffed by dual-certified nurse practitioners who can provide both physical and mental health services, including onsite counseling and referrals to treatment. In addition to the nurse practitioner, each mobile unit is also staffed with a behavioral health therapist, a medical assistant, and a case manager. Staff are trained to use the following evidence-based tools and practices:

    • Behavioral Health Integration (BHI)
    • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
    • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
    • Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)
    • Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
    To support the mobile units, Project Rural Recovery partners with local health clinics, emergency medical services (EMS), courts, health councils, homeless services providers, faith leaders, and pharmacies.

    Project Rural Recovery assesses program outcomes by gathering patient data at baseline and 6-month follow-up intervals. They track metrics related to daily living activities, suicide and depression screening, substance use and frequency, as well as multiple physical health measures like blood pressure and A1C.

    The program learned the following from their Year 3 evaluation:

    • 1 in 5 clients had not seen a primary care physician in the last 5 years
    • 1 in 3 clients said they would not have received any care if the mobile clinic was not available
    • 1 in 4 clients said it would have taken them over 30 minutes to travel if it was not for the mobile unit
    • 97% of clients said it took them less than 30 minutes to get to the mobile clinic
    • 70% of clients surveyed said they would have gone to the emergency department if the mobile unit was not available

Models represented by this program: